A new look at a very old evil is the subject of this story from 21Country.
And its being told at Fort Wayne's Museum of Art.
These are the photographs of American slavery we're used to seeing...graphic images of the peculiar institution's peculiar cruelty.
They're often haunting faces that stare out at us from grainy century and a half old photographs.
But there is another, clearer way, to see slavery.
Curator Sachi Yanari Rizzo says, "Each one of them is like a history lesson. I think it tries to bring to life something that we think is so far back in time."
These are digital photographs...montages and composites actually...by African American photographer Stephen Marc, who visited hundreds of underground railroad sites in 22 states and Canada, took thousands of digital photos and combined them, seemlessly, into stunning pictorial storybooks.
Some of the stories are generic.
This one holds images of an African American church...Baltimore Harbor where Frederick Douglas worked as a ship caulker...and the home of Josiah Henson, the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.
These are images of Eleutherian College in southern Indiana, known as the abolitionist school, founded by Reverand Thomas Craven in 1849 to teach black children...and hide fugitive slaves that crossed the Ohio River on their journey to Canada, and freedom.
Curator Sachi Yanari Rizzo says, "This is a view out of one of the Quaker meeting houses. It is a reminder that Quakers were often involved in abolitionist enterprises. This was the coming together of different people regardless of race, religions, men and women...sometimes organized, sometimes spontaneous working towards a goal."
These pictures are of the John Rankin house in Ripley, Ohio...a famous whistle stop along the Underground Railroad.
John Rankin hid slave families in closets and crawl spaces.
His brother Alexander Rankin, another famous abolitionist, once lived in this home on Lafayette Street in Fort Wayne.
The historical marker outside John Rankin's house attests to racism's tenacious hold on America.
It is riddled with bullet holes.
Stephen Marc says his work isn't intended to scold, just to remind, through barren slave shacks and cramped hiding places, just what people are willing to suffer to be free.
Marc says the project was a way for him to make contact with his own ancestors and his own story.
What he's done is reveal just how much of that story we all share, regardless of race, color or creed.
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